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Could you be grieving?

| Mental Health | Healthy You

young woman lying on couch

Letting yourself grieve can help you overcome loss of all kinds.

We all experience loss in life. 

It may be the loss of health, a job, a home, a pet or a relationship, to name a few.

Whatever loss you might be experiencing, your grief is valid and worth exploring.

In fact, living with unresolved grief can have lasting effects on your health.

Here are some steps to give yourself — and others — space and permission to acknowledge your loss.

Identify your feelings.

  • Writing can help you sort out what you’re feeling and why. Just write, don’t edit. This is just for you.
  • Drawing is another way get your feelings out in the open. Again, don’t worry about what it looks like.
  • Labeling your feelings can help you see a mixture of emotions from sadness or anger to maybe even relief.

Accept your feelings.

  • Express your emotions. Keeping them bottled up won’t make them go away.
  • Talk to a trusted friend. Let your friend know you need a listening ear.
  • Be kind and gentle with yourself. You’re already hurting. Have compassion on yourself.

Explore solutions for your situation.

  • Seek counseling. Set up a time to talk with a specialist or a chaplain or other spiritual mentor.
  • Consider a support group. You might find comfort in meeting others who are going through the same experience.
  • Identify next steps. If you lost a job, ask yourself about your next move. If you’re sad about a missed life milestone, decide how to mark the occasion in a new way, now or in the future.
  • Focus your attention. Go for a walk in the woods. Dig weeds in the garden. Take your mind off things for a while. However, it can be easy to use distractions to avoid your feelings. Find a balance.
  • Find healthy coping habits. It can be tempting to find short-term comfort in things such as alcohol, drugs or food. In the long run, you’ll feel better if you eat a plant-based diet, exercise daily and stick to a good sleep routine.

If you're experiencing several losses or one that's particularly intense, you may want more support. Talk to your primary care provider or a mental health counselor. You don't have to grieve alone.